The Bears are wrapping up their second week of organized team activities this week at Halas Hall and it's clear that one change in particular is having a positive effect.
The arrival of Brandon Marshall has given the group of receivers someone they can use as a learning tool. Marshall has done the things in the league that everyone else is striving to do.
Marshall's talent is undeniable, but what has stood out the most during the two media sessions I've witnessed is that he's very engaging with his teammates. Unlike Roy Williams last season, Marshall seems to embrace his role as the leader of the group and he backs it up with the way he works in practice. He may have made some miscues off the field, but he handles his job as a player like a professional.
Another addition, Jason Campbell, gives the Bears a reliable backup should anything happen to Jay Cutler again. Campbell admitted it's different to be in a purely backup role, but he understands what it takes to prepare for the position. The guy has great size and a strong arm. Following Wednesday's practice he marveled at the way the Bears handle their business on the field and in the meeting rooms, giving Lovie Smith credit for the tone and atmosphere of the team.
One thing that still mystifies me is the stalemate between Matt Forte and the Bears. I heard the grumblings about his knees and maybe that's part of the problem from the team's standpoint, but they still couldn't sign him prior to last season before his most recent injury? Also, he hasn't had an ACL injury which would be considered a much more career-threatening knee problem. The only thing that makes sense is that the organization doesn't feel he's worth what other backs are getting paid, plain and simple. They don't feel they need to pay for the position perhaps because it often is not one of longevity. He will get paid thanks to the franchise tag, but it's hard to imagine that any type of long-term deal will ever get done.
The White Sox signing Yasmani Grandal broke suddenly and unexpectedly.
It wasn’t a big surprise that the White Sox would go after him, but the timing and the fact that the White Sox broke the news on their own (a la the Jose Quintana trade) caught people off guard.
Once the dust settled, the White Sox were in the national spotlight as far as the baseball world was concerned.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan got Ken Williams on the record before the White Sox had conference calls on the signing. Williams makes it sound like it’s go-time for the South Siders.
Passan also gave a look at a potential White Sox lineup for 2020 once prospects Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal eventually join. We also made our own.
The Athletic’s Jayson Stark was impressed with how early the signing was. White Sox fans will enjoy that after going through the long, drawn out Manny Machado/Bryce Harper sagas last offseason.
Here are some Grandal stats that should get White Sox fans fired up about his addition (if they weren’t already).
Finally, is it time to talk playoffs? Long way to go, but the White Sox offseason is off to a notable start.
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The Bears are throwing it back to the past this weekend at Soldier Field.
The Bears will rock 1960s throwback helmets Sunday when they take on the New York Giants. The helmet is navy blue and features a white "C" logo and gray facemask, whereas the current helmet has an orange "C" and white facemask.
A look at the throwback lid:
The Bears donned those helmets from 1962-72 during the playing days of Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers, now Hall of Famers. They won the 1963 NFL Championship along the way.
“I think a lot of Bears fans remember the ‘60s, especially the ’63 championship team winning at Wrigley against the Giants with those ‘Cs’ on our helmet,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said. “And of course Butkus and Sayers and all the great memories they provided. That small change I think means a lot to people.”
As 2019 is the Bears' 100th season as a franchise, they've been honoring a different decade at each home game. The Bears have also installed seven-foot tall bobbleheads around Chicago each week featuring players from that week's celebratory decade.
Unsurprisingly, this week's game will celebrate the 1960s, with Butkus and Sayers represented in life-size bobblehead form:
The Bears will give out bobbleheads of Butkus and Sayers to the first 20,000 fans who arrive at Sunday's game.
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